By: Dwolla,

ACH Payouts to Referees

In a single college football game there can be up to eight referees on the field—and that’s just the refs. This number doesn’t account for the other officials and staff that help keep the game running. Now consider college game-day, every Saturday in the fall hundreds of referees, umpires and other officials don their black and white stripes and head to the field.

Managing and coordinating the officials in sports is no easy feat, but software company BlueZebra Sports has built a platform that major collegiate conferences consider their go-to for everything from scheduling to paying employees.

About BlueZebra Sports

If you’re watching a game, most people don’t think about the referees unless a call doesn’t go their way. Refs just show up and do their job, but ensuring this happens is no small task.

BlueZebra has been in the game for over thirteen years, empowering schools of all sizes—from your hometown high school to Division 1 universities—to take hold of all things related to managing officials. Its user-friendly platform boasts easy-to-use technology for officials and administrators alike.

With over 4,000 college officials in the system, BlueZebra provides its clients with a holistic solution for managing and paying a less-than-traditional lineup of staff.

The problem they faced:

BlueZebra needed a cost-effective payment integration to ensure referees were paid in a timely, secure and efficient manner. Since collegiate athletic conferences are generally non-profit, BlueZebra needed to find an easy-to-use solution for staff payouts that would land funds directly in their bank account.

Sports officials are independent contractors, and are typically paid directly by the schools or by the conference. We were looking for a way to make payments as easy as possible for officials and for school/conference personnel.”

— Bradley Batt, Founder and CEO


When looking for a payouts provider, BlueZebra needed a partner that could be as flexible and customizable as its software was. Additionally, it needed to offer quick payouts and display information about transactions. Since the platform is often tailored for each client, the payout integration needed to cooperate.

Their solution for payouts:

BlueZebra found an ideal payment partner in Dwolla. With a flexible, open API backed by top-notch developer support, BlueZebra was sending payments through Dwolla within two weeks.

Today, BlueZebra facilitates millions in payouts annually to thousands of college officials using Dwolla’s powerful ACH-based bank transfers.

Mass Payments with Dwolla

The process is as follows:

  1. A conference manager logs in to BlueZebra’s customized portal for their given athletic conference.
  2. They head over to the ‘Pay officials’ tab and select a date range.
  3. Based on the date range, they can select the officials they would like to pay.
  4. Payment is processed by Dwolla and the funds are routed to the officials’ connected banking account.

“The reason we decided to use Dwolla is that it fit perfectly with making things easy for officials. To get paid, they enter their bank account information in Dwolla, and then they can get paid.

It’s also easier for our conference clients. They connect a bank account and make payments directly from their checking account—no managing wire transfers or ACH deposits into a third party account before being able to pay officials.

Finally, Dwolla’s support has been fantastic, both for our officials and for our administrators who manage the payments.“

— Jeff Wigal, Founder and CTO


BlueZebra’s slick integration makes payouts to staff members simple to follow and painless to get up and running. Now conferences are able to make payments as frequently as needed without concerns of timing or excessive cost, and see information conveniently in one place.

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Financial institutions play an important role in the Dwolla network.

Dwolla, Inc. is an agent of Veridian Credit Union and Compass Bank and all funds associated with your account in the Dwolla network are held in pooled accounts at Veridian Credit Union and Compass Bank. These funds are not eligible for individual insurance, including FDIC insurance and may not be eligible for share insurance by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. Dwolla, Inc. is the operator of a software platform that communicates user instructions for funds transfers to Veridian Credit Union and Compass Bank.